Pace back and forth. Heart beating. Stomach churning. Watch the clock, no, don’t even look at it.
I forgot the feeling from last time. I thought since it’s my second time I’d be pro. I thought that until this moment. This moment where I realize the panic has set in and I’m so nervous.
Please don’t let my IBS kick in tonight.
Over a year and a half ago I began experiencing very weird nerve sensations in the right side of my face. It began in my temple and then spread down my face. It was swollen for only about 2 days but the sensation has lasted almost 2 years now. It’s as if I often feel like I’m two face…lol! I did light therapy on that side of my face for a few months thinking maybe I had nerve damage from a car accident I was in 5 years ago, nothing changed. I had tests done on my eye thinking maybe I had pulled something and it was affecting my face, everything was normal. I took loads of advil thinking it would help. I began going to the massage therapist, it felt nice but still my face problems lingered. I prayed my brains out asking God to take it away, but it persisted. Finally my doctor sent me to the neurologist. This large and friendly British man sent me for blood work and the dreaded MRI. One of two MRI’s….my second I will be having this evening. I remember sitting in the doctor’s office waiting for him to give me the results of my MRI. He said they had learned two things, I held my breath. “We’ve learned that number one, you have a brain, and number two, it’s normal.” Breathe out. Great news but again no answers for what the heck was going on with my face. He put me on a drug called Lyrica, often given for nerve damage. This drug was the answer to my prayers. The drug didn’t take away the symptoms but it lessoned them so I could focus on other things other than my face. However, I also learned that when I was stressed or slept wrong or moved wrong then the symptoms would flare despite the drug. These days are difficult.
The neurologist told me to come back in 9 months and we would revaluate. I waited 11 but I don’t think he noticed. After almost 2 years and still feeling a bit discouraged that these sensations are still very present I am still looking for answers as to what this could be. I feel like I may have even stumped the neurologist. At my last appointment him and the German med student decided they would send me for more blood work, another MRI and a blink test (what this does I have no clue) in hopes of solving the mystery of my face. The blink test is yet to come, the second MRI is tonight.
My last MRI didn’t start out too well. I read the letter telling me the date and time of my appointment at the Henderson Hospital in Hamilton. I was sure the letter said 8:30 AM. We got there bright and early only to learn that the letter really said 8:30 PM. Ooops. Second thing was the Ativan that I was prescribed to calm me a bit (due to my slight difficulty with small spaces) didn’t decide to take effect until after my MRI was over. So instead of me, the MRI machine and my little miracle pill, it was just me and the MRI machine. Oh……me, the MRI machine and the heart attack I was convinced I was having. So in case you don’t know the ins and out of an MRI I will enlighten you (at least from my experience). Once you’re sporting the lovely green scrubs then you head on in and proceed to get up on this table. They put these huge headphones on you that seem to suction to your ears. At the time I wondered why I needed such monstrous headphones, later on I found out that the MRI machine is extremely loud with the monstrous headphones, heaven forbid without. Once lying down on the table with the headphones on, they put this cage thing over your head and then you’re rolled into a small hole where they begin taking images of your brain or whatever part of your body they are doing the MRI on. Once in the small hole you are to lie very still and try not to move at all. Luckily I read the booklet on everything MRI before I went in and was able to make myself a musical MRI mix. I could barely hear it with all the racket but occasionally in between hammering sounds I could hear the sweet reminders of God’s love for me and His presence with me in that tiny hole sung to some of my favourite tunes. The people running the MRI test told me afterwards they liked my mix.
I thought I was doing pretty good in the hole and was wondering if the drugs had taken effect and if I was having an out of body experience when my chest started to get increasingly hot. I was panicking and trying not to move a muscle at the same time. The lady spoke to me through the machine and asked if I was alright. I told her it was hot. She turned the fans on. I was still hot.
Side note: you know how when you start to panic your brain comes up with a whole bunch of reasons as to what could be happening. Usually these reasons are completely out of this world and yet when you’re in panic mode they actually seem like they could be possible. Ever experienced this?
So panic mode hit in the hole. I began coming up with possible reasons as to why I was so hot. Why my chest felt like it was on fire. I thought that maybe I was having a heart attack. My body was clearly telling me it wanted out of that hole. The lady said they were almost done. I convinced myself to hold on.
Finally it was done. They rolled me out, removed the cage over my head and took of the monstrous head phones. Of course my drugs had now taken effect and I was a bit….well….I guess you might say loose or funny. Seriously, could that not have started before the MRI.
So a few months ago when I found out I would be going for another MRI I wasn’t panicked. I thought no problemo….been there done that….oh and Dr., can I take one of those miracle pills a bit sooner this time? Well MRI day #2 is here and I’m super panicked. I know it has to be done. I want to figure this face thing out but I’m scared. I have my MRI mix #2 all ready to go, my Ativan in hand and my wonderful parents are even taking me to Starbucks afterwards. It’s like the McDonald’s trip after you get your needle. I’m still scared because I can’t take someone in that hole with me. Yet I know that Jesus will be there and I trust that I don’t have to face these things on my own.
So in about 15 minutes I’m going to pop my first dose of Ativan, in about an hour and a half I’ll probably be in the hole and hopefully in about 3 hours I’ll have my Starbucks in hand.
I sure hope I don’t have a heart attack!
Yours Truly….AKA: The MRI PRO,